Interview with writer Harriet Hodgson

Writer Harriet
joins me today and we’re talking about her self-help inspirational
book about caregiving, The Family
Caregiver’s Guide: How to Care for a Loved One at
Rochester, Minnesota, USA resident Harriet Hodgson has
been a freelance writer for 38 years, is the author of thousands of
online/print articles, and 36 books.
A member of the Association of Health Care Journalists,
Hodgson is a contributing writer for the Open to Hope website, The Grief
toolbox website, and the Caregiver Space website. To read her caregiving
articles visit
Hodgson has appeared on more than 185 radio talk shows,
including CBS Radio, and dozens of television stations, including CNN. A
popular guest, she has given presentations at public health, Alzheimer’s,
bereavement, and caregiving conferences. Her work is cited in Who’s Who of American Women, World Who’s Who of Women, Contemporary Authors, and other directories.
All of Hodgson’s work comes from her life. A caregiver
for 20+ years, she has cared for three generations of family members, and
currently cares for her disabled husband. For more information about this busy
wife, author, grandmother, and caregiver please visit her website,
Welcome, Harriet. Please tell us about
your current release.
When I wrote The Family Caregiver’s Guide, I didn’t know one book would lead to
two, then three, then four. The purpose of The
Family Caregiver’s Guide
is to prepare
family members for caregiving and make their lives easier. The chapter titles
are an indication of the caregiving journey:
  1. Caregiving is an
    Expanding Role
  2. Focus on the Care
  3. Facing and Accepting
  4. Assessing Your Loved
    One’s Abilities
  5. What Skills Do You
  6. What Skills Do You
  7. Getting Ready for Home
  8. Caregiving Nuts and
  9. The Many Rewards of
Other books in the series include Affirmations for Family Caregivers, A Journal for Family Caregivers,
and The Family Caregiver’s Cookbook.
What inspired you to write this book?
My mother had stroke-induced dementia and I was her family
caregiver for nine years. I didn’t realize how exhausted I was until she died.
Although I hoped life would calm down for a few years, it didn’t. In 2007 my
elder daughter, mother of my twin grandchildren, died from the injuries she
received in a car crash. Two days later my father-in-law died of pneumonia. Two
months later my brother, and only sibling, died of a heart attack. In the fall,
the twin’s father died from the injuries he received in another car crash. The
court appointed my husband and me as the twin’s guardians/caregivers and we did
this for seven years. In 2013, my husband’s aorta dissected and he was bleeding
to death rapidly. Surgeons operated on him three times in a desperate attempt
to save his life. During the last surgery, he suffered a spinal cord injury
that paralyzed his legs. I became his family caregiver and advocate the night I
drove him to the hospital. After being hospitalized for eight months my husband
was dismissed to my care. He was exhausted a bit confused because I moved him
into a new, wheelchair accessible townhome I built for him. A week after he
returned home, I started The Family
Caregiver’s Guide
, wrote parallel to my life.
exciting story are you working on next?
In the spring of 2018 my 36th book, So, You’re Raising Your Grandkids, will be released. It will be posted on
Amazon soon and available for advance ordering.
did you first consider yourself a writer?
I thought I might become a writer in grade school when I
started making books and illustrating them. In college, I was the co-editor of
the college literary magazine. Armed with a BS in Early Childhood Education, I
taught for a dozen years. During this time I wrote a few articles for teaching
magazines, and was thrilled when they were accepted. Writing tugged at
teaching, and after a dozen years in the classroom, I retired to become a
full-time writer.
Do you
write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other
than write and how do you find time to write?
Every day is a writing day. I’m either writing an
article, working on a book, or working on book marketing. Caring for a disabled
loved one is demanding, but I continue to write because it’s my salvation.
Writing for other caregivers and The Caregiver Space gets me out of myself, and
connects me with others. Many people have asked me how I switched from teaching
to writing. For me, it was an easy transition. Wheelock College, a pioneer in
early childhood education, gave me excellent training in planning units. Today,
I call these segments chapters. My graduate degree in art education from the
University of Minnesota enables me to see cover images and printed words on
paper. In short, I see the finished product, and this is extremely helpful.
would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Believe it or not, I write in my sleep. I’m blessed to
have a mind that continues to process while I’m in bed. Around 3 a.m. I awaken
and my mind tells me there is an error in the second paragraph of page 32. When
I get up, I go to the computer and immediately correct this error. I often
write new copy in my pajamas.
As a
child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
At the time, girls only had three choices. We could be
secretaries, nurses, or teachers. I received a scholarship from the local
teaching association, and used it to pay my first year of tuition at Wheelock
College in Boston.
additional you want to share with the readers?
As you can tell by my bio, grief and I are well
acquainted. Too well acquainted. As a self-help step, I wrote eight grief
recovery resources for the bereaved. WriteLife, my current publisher, published
one of them, Happy Again! Your New and
Meaningful Life After Loss.
I’m proud of this book and, if you’re grieving
now, think you will find it helpful.

you for stopping by today, Harriet!

One thought on “Interview with writer Harriet Hodgson

  1. Kourtney Heintz says:

    Wow. Harriet is truly inspiring in how many family tragedies she coped with and how she was the caregiver for so many people. Adding to my tbr list!

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